Come, put on a pair of beach pants for Lao Tzu

Under the coconut tree by the sea, an elderly person slipped on his slippers and wore patterned shorts under his body, leaning on a stack of bamboo slips. His brows were light and frowning, his hands long beards, and he was looking far away. The next page is a lecturer with long hair, standing in front of the podium and preaching. The former is the “Master of Existence” in the eyes of American Li Du, the Laozi, the guru of the Taoist School, while the latter is the “Master of Integrity”, Confucian Confucius.

The original name of Li Du was Stewart Lee Beck. The name Stewart originated in Scotland. Beck is a German name. His friend Sun Zhumin felt that Lee and Chinese Li had similar pronunciations and named him Li Du.

Having lived in China for more than 20 years, Li Du found that every time he returned to his country, he didn’t know the Chinese and Chinese in the Eastern Hemisphere even when the information was so smooth. So he found his Chinese teacher, Lu Haiyan, and Sun Zhumin, who wanted to co-author two books and interpret China from the perspective of an American with rich life experience in China.

Lu Haiyan was surprised to hear Li Du’s idea of ​​writing a book. Although they have known each other for many years, every time Li Du misreads the Chinese pronunciation, Lu Haiyan secretly pinches herself to suppress the urge to laugh, and then encourages Li Du expressionlessly: “Try again.” According to Li Du’s words, He is not one of the students the teacher thinks is most likely to succeed. However, after reading Li Du’s first draft, Lu Haiyan said: “I never knew my language was so beautiful.”

The two books they co-authored are “Fun Simplified Chinese History” and “Fun Simplified Chinese Dialect”. These are the two books in the Shanghai Translation Publishing House’s “China is not simple” series. This series hopes to introduce the most representative Chinese history and culture to foreign young people in a relaxed and witty way.

“Muffin man”
Chinese colleagues gave Li Du a nickname of “Muffin man”, but this muffin is a homonym in Chinese, meaning “troublesome”. Li Du has very high requirements for work details, and colleagues feel that he is a little difficult.

As the former marketing director of an American computer company in China, Li Du used to deal with Chinese manufacturers. Whenever he asks the other party “Is there a problem”, the answer is usually “should be no problem”. “No problem is no problem, why should there be no problem, is there any problem?” Slowly, he summed up the trick: carefully listen to the pronunciation of the word “should”, if it is short and powerful, it means that the other party is full Confidence, ten points and nine points; but if it is a slow and elongated pronunciation, it means that the situation is not good.

When someone said to Li Du “speak later”, he also understood the meaning behind this sentence, in fact expressing “hope that both parties will forget it and never mention it again”.

When meeting with a customer, the other party often says “come soon.” Hearing this sentence, Li Du’s mind came up with a picture of heroic soldiers riding horses and galloping in the wilderness of the wind, “on horseback arriving, there is a feeling that a superhero will arrive immediately”, he recalled, While raising his hands and shaking, he imitated a horseback ride.

Westerners have a consensus on time, meet each other, and usually tell each other the specific arrival time. But in China, the actual situation Li Du encountered was that the “heroic knights” rarely kept their promises, and a scheduled meeting might not start until an hour and a half later.

Li Du is very interested in the idiom. He found that the idiom “Hai Di Lai needle” also has a similar saying in English, but when translated into Chinese, it is “a needle in a haystack.” In comparison, “a needle in a grass is really a side dish.” dish”. He found that the Chinese still have the spirit of “giving up for justice”, but it has become “giving up for wifi”.

When Li Du returned to the United States, friends all said that he was an American who had been “sinified.” According to the rules of word creation, he invented a new English word: Sinolinguaphilia, which refers to the “sinization” phenomenon of foreigners who have used Chinese for a long time. These people may show the following behavior: When they speak their mother tongue, they will use the Chinese word order unconsciously. For example, “You what time go to airport”; when answering affirmatively, it is used to say a series of “right to right”. The dreams with the most “serious” symptoms all speak Chinese, and they do not understand Chinese at all in real life. The person spoke up.

“A two-hour Chinese historical movie”
Soon after arriving in China, Li Du wanted to write a script about Shanghai. Sun Zhumin’s university roommate was an intern at Mrs. Li Du’s company. The roommate told Sun Zhumin that you should be interested in such unreliable things. At first sight, the two chatted for a long time and started a 20-year cooperation.

“The creative process is full of cultural and linguistic conflicts. There are 60, 70, and 80 generations among the team members, and there are obvious intergenerational conflicts.” Li Du and Sun Zhumin recalled the creative process of “Chinese History of Fun”. In order to show the long Chinese history in more than 100 pages, everyone decided to discuss and choose only three characters for each dynasty. Westerners like to listen to stories. They present the whole book as a “two-hour Chinese historical movie”.

If there are too many characters in a movie, the image will be blurred. How can foreign readers remember each character? Li Du became a “translator” of Chinese and Western culture.

When discussing the character of Zheng He, they found it difficult for foreigners to pronounce the word “zh” in the pinyin “Zheng”, and also used the pinyin “he” to “he” in English. In order to facilitate understanding, they gave Zheng He a name: the CEO of Drifting at Sea, leading a team of about 27,000 people to drift on the stormy waves. This huge team includes a “leadership” composed of messengers and officials, a “nautical affairs office” composed of captains, helmsmen, cabin crew, weather forecasters, and astrologers, and a “military guard” composed of soldiers at all levels. A “service department” composed of a diplomatic support team and logistics personnel, and a “mental mentor group” composed of priests, monks, and fortune tellers.

When referring to Song Huizong, Li Du felt that Apple founder Steve Jobs, who is also obsessed with font design, will definitely like him because he created a thin gold body, but he was unsuccessful as an emperor. As a result, they compared Song Huizong to a pope with Mozart’s talent and Elvis, who became the president of the United States. His artistic talents are different, but because of the shackles of power, he can only drink alcohol day and night.

“But don’t feel too sorry for him. The number of descendants of Song Huizong is the best among the emperors of all dynasties.” Song Huizong had a total of 32 sons and 34 daughters. Even during his imprisonment, he gave birth to 19 children. The team added in brackets “Don’t ask why, this may not be all.”

Sun Zhumin has a free and easy personality. She wants to write about the Seven Sages of the Bamboo Forest during the Wei and Jin Dynasties. But when she mentioned it with Li Du, she hadn’t seen the light in the other person’s eyes for a long time: “We have known each other for so long, and he has answered very politely. It must have not touched him.” Speaking of which, the two looked at each other. At a glance, there was a tacit understanding between old friends.

Until one day, Sun Zhumin said: “Do you know that the seven sages in the bamboo forest are actually hippies from 1700 years ago.” Li Du’s eyes immediately changed.

The Seven Sages of the Bamboo Forest were the intellectual youth who opposed the mainstream and chose to indulge in the mountains and rivers more than a thousand years ago in the East. The hippies were idealists who opposed the Vietnam War and criticized the government in the 1960s; Beard, raise the flag and guitar, and advocate utopian society. Although separated by thousands of years, Sun Zhumin feels that the two groups are interlinked in coping with social unrest and seeking spiritual freedom.

The comparison between the seven wise men of Zhu Lin and the hippies showed that the people on the team were very excited and the feedback from the readers was not bad. They saw that the “cultural switch” between China and the West seemed to be turned on at once.

In order to make this “movie” well, so that the audience does not have the “piss point” to get up and leave the seat, the team also gave up a lot of introductions to the poet through adjustments, “For foreigners, too many poets may have some understanding “Obstacles”, it is important for foreign readers to read them in.

Sun Zhumin and Li Du (@视中国图)

“Fun Simplified Chinese”

“Fun Simplified Chinese History”

Chinese and Western culture “ferry”
Before coming to China, Li Du dreamed of going to Portuguese and Spanish. In an unexpected job transfer, he packed up his luggage, sold all his belongings, and moved to China.

Like most people who have just been in a foreign country, Li Du experienced a period of “cultural shock”, and was confused by the densely packed square words in the dictionary and the four tones that sounded almost like it.

There were two Japanese people in the Chinese class at the time. Li Du observed that the two people could read Chinese characters well, but it was still difficult to speak good Chinese. This made Li Du have doubts about Chinese learning: even if they came from neighboring countries in China and knew Chinese characters. It is difficult for people to make Chinese literature good, not to mention that they are completely novice Westerners? Working in the day and learning Chinese at night, Li Du is under great pressure and his interest is gradually losing. He gave up studying Chinese. Without psychological pressure and burden, and no longer struggling with complex texts and grammars, Li Du discovered the interesting aspects of Chinese in daily life.

“Superhero” Qin Shihuang

Li Du has met many Chinese people and likes to give himself various English names: zeus (passenger), passenger (passenger), milk powder (milk powder), legend (myth), mosquito (mosquito), he is difficult to understand . But in helping foreigners get Chinese names, he gave a very authentic opinion: First, find a Chinese friend who has a rich vocabulary and trust, choose a Chinese surname that is similar to the pronunciation of this surname, and then choose two symbolic Words of good quality, such as “Jiesheng”, stand for excellence and victory.

He does not recommend that you directly transliterate the English words, otherwise Danny translates directly into Chinese is “hit you”, Fabio is “invoice”, and Jimmy sounds like it is called the Jinmao Building in Shanghai, “This is like a Chinese in Paris is called the Eiffel Tower,” he wrote in the book.

Sun Zhumin feels that Li Du has always maintained sincerity and goodwill towards the unknown, playing the role of “ferryman” in cultural communication between China and the West. “Some people will be afraid because they are unknown and confused, and make judgments when they are not clear. It is actually unfriendly.” The two had a little controversy about the historical status of Cixi and Song Huizong, but Li Du’s goodwill made the two Human discussion can always be carried on equally.

Sun Zhumin is a native of Shanghai. When selecting the three representatives of the Tang Dynasty, she naturally chose Li Bai and Du Fu, but Li Du proposed to choose a female poet. Sun Zhumin began to understand, and was later persuaded by Li Du. He believed that the emergence of female poets in the Tang dynasty could reflect the opening of the world style and the advancement of women’s status.

They finally chose Yu Xuanji. Although “Three Hundred Tang Poems” did not include her poems, they liked Yu Xuanji’s life story very much. Considering Western readers, in terms of expression, they imagined Yu Xuanji as a person who lives today and helped her make an introduction to Facebook’s personal homepage.

“We are not scholars, we don’t need to bear the burden of writing history, and we don’t have to pretend to be authoritative.” Sun Zhumin feels that the team is recording some flash points of humanity in the long history, and the reader is everyone who is just like himself-in modern times, Lao Tzu How will you live? Come on, put him on a pair of beach pants.